Zee Cinema marries marketing with innovation

Pay a high price to acquire a blockbuster movie, back it with heavy marketing, and hope the advertising money will follow.

That is what Zee Cinema did to promote Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, expecting the recipe to work. As per industry estimates, the telecast rights were grabbed for around Rs 45 million and over Rs 10 million was spent to market the movie, the biggest push the channel has ever attempted. So did it work?

Let us first look at the unique way the movie was marketed.

The campaign

"Madly in Love with me? Then propose to me," flirted Priyanka Chopra through the hoardings deployed in the outdoor campaign. Viewers were constantly reminded of the contest through radio and print. Realising the influence of the online medium among urban consumers, Zee Cinema hooked on to the Web and aggressively promoted the extravaganza online through popular sites MSN and Yahoo.

The peg for the whole campaign was the reality game show Propose to Priyanka (P2P) that was created out of the movie's theme. This was across all media - print, radio, outdoor, SMS and Internet.

The movie had Salman Khan making his best efforts to win Priyanka Chopra's love. The theme was used in conceiving this reality contest where viewers were asked to send in their proposals to Priyanka. From the entries received, five were short listed to meet their icon and propose to her in person. The channel showcased the final round of the contest during the telecast of the movie on 27 February.

The initiative saw the channel entering in a partnership with Media2win, the online media planning and buying venture of Contests2win group, to promote its big movies online. Interactive banners were placed on, Yahoo mail, Yahoo home page and MSN Messenger. The campaign posed questions related to the movie and the prize promised was a diamond ring.

The Break!

The whole effort was to promote the ad breaks so that viewers stuck on to the channel during the intervals, an innovative idea taken from a Philippine channel.

"This is for the first time in the history of Indian television that such a thing has happened. We made a conscious effort to promote the ad breaks. This is where the advertisers are putting their monies," Says Zee Cinema business head Bharat Ranga.

The Score Card

Despite a heavy dose of marketing, the ratings fell short of expectations. MSK could garner only 3.84 TVR, according to TAM data for C&S 4+ Hindi speaking markets. According to the channel, the P2P show garnered an average TVR of 3.9.

MSK, however, has fared better than most of the movies that have been telecast this year. And on Zee Cinema it was only Munnabhai MBBS that was ahead of MSK with a TVR of 4.1. Quoting TAM numbers, Zee Cinema says during the MSK telecast, its channel share at 25 per cent beat the rival channels, the reach stood at 26 per cent and the peak TVR recorded was 6 in the HSM.

Ranga admits the CS4+ HSM rating was "much less than expected", but the buzz around MSK helped achieve the primary objective of creating an excitement around the channel.

On the advertising front, Zee Cinema had put a high premium on the ad rates by jacking it up to between Rs 40,000 and Rs 50,000 for a 10-second spot - a five fold jump from the ad rates the channel normally charges for a premiere.

Ranga says some advertisers were not ready to accept the rates. "We were expecting a particular rate. But there were some advertisers who felt why they should pay that much."

So what did MSK finally achieve?

Ranga feels the movie helped build the image of the channel. "Movie channels are drawing in new viewers at this juncture, a trend that has caught on since the last eight months. At a time when all the three movie channels are showing big films, it is crucial to build the image of the channel. This is why we decided to do a big campaign to promote this movie."

Media agencies believe promoting big ticket movies should have long term goals. Says Starcom MD (West and South) Ravi Kiran, "It is not right to judge such spends in isolation. It is the equity the channel is able to create that counts. If MSK could get the channel at least 20 per cent new audiences, it should consider that as an achievement."

Adds Madison media director Vanita Keswani: "MSK is the biggest premiere on Zee Cinema till date. The 360 degree marketing efforts were crucial because they were aimed not only at attracting viewers but, more importantly, to build the image of the channel."

So is MSK setting a trend? Zee Cinema plans to make a detailed analysis of the viewer response to the initiative. "We would like to study the various patterns that have emerged from this exercise as it would help us in extending the lessons learnt to other big properties we have like Musafir, Aaitbaar and Raincoat," says Ranga.

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